THROW is one of those rare books that bring your past into the pages of a book.
It begins with Güero who’s real name is Cirilo, a smart young man who has some pretty good things going for him. He lives in a better part of town close to McAllen, Texas and for some time even went to a really nice school. Güero has been in love with Karina who is also known as La Llorona, for so long he no longer remembers a time he didn’t. First love–first heartbreak. But, his friends Smiley and Angel take him under their wing and are hopeful he will one day with their help move forward and forget about her. They are also confident he will join the gang they may or not be a part of.
Degollado brings Karina’s character of La Llorona to life long before we see her on the page. Her presence is there all along at every turn haunting Güero and the reader alike as we learn more about her. I really liked how it appears like she’s there even when she’s not technically on the page.
It will break your heart and remind you of the loves you had growing up. How easy you let them go, how they changed your life and how from time to time you think of them. Each character is so relatable, so fully brought to life, from the way that they laugh to their clothes and mannerisms. There are several laugh out loud moments among friends. Other parts that at least for me hit too close to home. I haven’t read a book in a while that did that. A book that felt like real life. Personally, I was thrilled to receive this book and read it. Ruben Degollado’s debut is a classic. There are stories whose characters flow off the page and have you thinking ‘wait don’t I know you?’ and this is one of them for me.
This book is a glimpse into the lives of Mexican-American teens living on the edge of two worlds: American life and Mexican. Through Cirilo, we see the complexities of both, the beauty within the struggle and the love that springs from the result.
I thoroughly recommend this book ten times over. I cannot wait to read more from Ruben.
Make sure to check it out.
I received this copy early in exchange for an honest review.
Rubén Degollado was born in Indiana, but is from McAllen, Texas, where the majority of his family has lived for generations. His fiction has appeared in Bilingual Review/Revista Bilingüe, Beloit Fiction Journal, Gulf Coast, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Image, Relief, and the anthologies Texas Short Stories, Fantasmas and Bearing the Mystery. He has been a finalist in American Short Fiction’s annual contest, Glimmer Train’s Family Matters Contest, and Bellingham Review’s 2010 Tobias Wolff Award and has been Image journal’s Artist of the Month. His first novel, THROW, is forthcoming from Slant Books.
You can find Ruben at: https://www.rubendegollado.com